The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

State claws back money for new ENMU presidential residence

 

Last updated 6/22/2020 at 3:25pm

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Plans to replace or renovate the presidential residence at Eastern New Mexico University are likely on hold after the Legislature moved to claw back the $650,000 award for the project. The current house at 1600 W. Cherry St. has been used by the university since 1973.

PORTALES - The 1600 Cherry Street building that has housed Eastern New Mexico University presidents since 1973 will continue in that regard for the foreseeable future.

The $650,000 in capital outlay originally allocated by the state has been swept back under Senate Bill 5. The award was one of 80 taken back under the bill totaling $13.9 million, but that total does not account for funds entities have already expended.

The bill passed 36-6 in the Senate and 68-1 in the House of Representatives, and on Monday awaited a signature from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. No local representatives voted against the legislation.

The Friday Board of Regents meeting already had an agenda item for an update on the University House, but the item will certainly have a different discussion in light of the swept funds. The virtual meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m.

The money was first given to the college in 2019, and designated for new construction. The ENMU regents, however, found the old house to be an albatross because they didn't want to just leave it abandoned right next to the new residence and the appropriation could not go toward renovating it.

Vice President of Business Affairs Scott Smart told The News the university had spent $42,000 of the award so far, and had another $53,000 encumbered.

The Legislature redesignated the money during the 2020 regular session to allow for renovations, and the regents had yet to complete the design phase.

Since 1973 the university's president has lived at the Cherry Street residence. During the 1960s and early '70s the president's home was off-campus at 1532 W. 17th Lane and 1500 S. Ave. A, and before that on-campus at the current site of the Kappa Sigma fraternity house.

The Cherry Street home was built in 1962 and has been added on to several times.

The funding for the residence was the only Roosevelt County capital outlay swept back under SB5. There were no Curry County projects on the cut list.

 
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